Airbus sprinted past Boeing to win the annual orders race in 2010 after a last-minute airline buying spree highlighted a recovery in emerging markets and the low-fare sector, the planemaker said on Monday.
The EADS subsidiary said it had sold 644 planes worth more than $84 billion at list prices in 2010, beating arch-rival Boeing’s total of 625 planes, following a surge of some 200 plane orders in December.
“These figures show the economy is improving. We have dodged the bullet on a double-dip recession. Aviation is growing again because of Asia, low-cost carriers and emerging markets,” Airbus sales chef John Leahy told reporters.
“The only negative on the horizon is the fuel price.”
Adjusting for cancellations, Airbus sold a net total of 574 planes worth $74 billion at list prices compared with Boeing’s 530, giving the European firm a market share of 52%.
The orders were stronger than many analysts had predicted.
Industry sources, however, told Reuters last week Airbus was poised to pull off a surprise win in both net and gross orders as it approached the 10 000th order in its 40-year history, while remaining ahead on jetliner deliveries.
Boeing reported 625 gross orders and 530 net orders in 2010 after more than doubling its sales from 2009 when business was left floundering by the financial crisis.
Both firms more than doubled their order intake in 2010 as airlines staged a stronger-than-expected recovery.
They share the commercial market for large airplanes with at least 100 seats but face challenges from Canada, China, Russia and Brazil.
For the eighth year running, Airbus delivered more planes than its US rival. Its total of 510 deliveries, up from 498 in 2009, topped the 500 mark for the first time at Airbus.
The total number of jetliners reaching the market dipped as Boeing deliveries fell 4% to 462 aircraft. Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the planemaker would increase commercial deliveries to 520-530 planes in 2011 and sell more than it delivers, without giving a more precise goal.
“2010 has been better than we expected. We will look at 2011 more optimistically,” Enders said.
Airbus posted total revenue of “around €30 billion” ($39,9 billion) in 2010, Enders said, up from €28,067 billion in 2009.
Planemakers get paid when jets are delivered, usually at least 18 months after they are bought and often longer.
The results met EADS forecasts for deliveries of more than 500 and beat the top end of the target for gross orders.
Airbus, which had started the year predicting up to 300 orders, raised the forecast to “north of 400” as leasing companies and low-cost airlines flooded back into the market at the Farnborough air show in July, and then targeted “up to 500”. ($1=.7512 Euro)